Pre-Prohibition is so 2014. For 2015, we’re all about pre-cocktail. At The Coachman in San Francisco, drinks are inspired by the Georgian and Victorian eras of punches, cups and cobblers. While scouring historic texts for inspiration, bartender John Codd uncovered recipes for hot buttered whiskey, spiced red wine with ginger ale and an early version of a Boilermaker made with stout and gin. But one drink kept coming up throughout his research: Regent’s Punch.
The rum and brandy-based mix is named for George Augustus Frederick, who became King George IV but had served as a hard-drinking, overly indulgent prince regent while his father, King George III, suffered from mental illness. While George IV may not have been a great ruler—taxpayers didn't love the extravagant spending—his fun-loving nature certainly inspired a killer punch. Made with funky Jamaican rum, brandy, sherry, sherbet (aka oleo-saccharum, the citrus oil and sugar base for any great punch), lemon juice, pineapple (yes, Europe imported pineapples in the 1800s) and soda water, the punch is complex, vibrant and perfect for parties. If you’re like the prince regent, it could also make a nice breakfast on New Year's Day. Here, Codd’s recipe for Regent’s Punch.
6 ounces Jamaican rum
6 ounces brandy
4 ounces Pedro Ximénez sherry
4 ounces lemon juice
2 ounces oleo-saccharum (see note)
12 ounces soda water
Orange and lemon wheels for garnish
Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl. Add ice, garnish with orange and lemon wheels and ladle into cups.
Note: To make the oleo-saccharum, muddle the peels of six oranges and two lemons with one cup of sugar. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Add one cup of water, stir and strain.